ZUCCHINI AND PASTA IN A 'SCAPECE STYLE
A'SCAPECE is a term used in Naples to denote something that has been marinated, like
fish or a vegetable. It derives from the Spanish term, ESCABECHE and sardines are very
often prepared in this manner, a spiced up marinade of olive oil and lots of vinegar, garlic,
herbs, salt. Perhaps you've encountered this without knowing what it was called at an
Italian restaurant as many times a plate of Zucchini A'Scapece is placed on your table as
a free antipasto, maybe along with olives or chunks of cheeses. The vinegar and oil is
wonderful to dip bread in while you are eating the tangy blistered zucchini slices, a piece of
Parmigiano, and maybe even some prosciutto. Marinated Seared Zucchini slices are a
very typical way of making vegetables in the Napoletana kitchen. Dried oregano is usually
the herb of choice, but fresh thyme and rosemary, sometimes fennel are all used for their
Well this post is not about the true recipe or uses of A'Scapece, instead I created a dish
with pasta that incorporates those flavors and therefore I call it A'Scapece style. The building
blocks are the same but technically is not zucchini a'scapece. (I love saying and typing that so
be forewarned, lol)
My pasta of choice for this dish was Campanelle, the Barilla brad...a "bell" shaped flower like
curl of pasta that also goes by the name of Gigli (lillies) and traps pieces of the sauteed zucchini,
garlic, breadcrumbs and cheese.
FYI, Campanelle is Italian for little bells.
Slice 5 small zucchini on the bias or lengthwise in 1/8 inch pieces. Salt them them for about 10 minutes, then pat them dry. Maybe only use 1/2 tsp of Kosher Salt. Add 1 1/2 tbs. of Olive Oil to a pan and let this
get nice and hot but not smoking. Add the zucchini, as many as you can fit without crowding. Leave on that
side for at least 5 minutes, check one slice to see if it has blistered and started to caramelize. Then turn
over and let them cook until they are tender. Remove to a bowl or platter as you are cooking the rest of the
zucchini. While you are cooking the zucchini cook 1 lb of
Campanelle till al dente according to the pacakge directions. Slice 2 cloves of garlic, have 1/8 cup of
Grated Pecorino on hand, 4 tbs. of good unseasoned Breadcrumbs, pinch of peperoncino and 3 tbs.
of Red Wine Vinegar. Are you reading this correctly? Red Wine Vinegar, please resist the urge to
add Balsamic vinegar to every single dish where vinegar is an ingredient. It is a wonderful (when you
have the right type) vinegar but should be used, not over used...and this is a recipe that comes out of
my homecooking memories and the Napoletana kitchen. Red Wine Vinegar please.
When the pasta is done, drain and set aside. Drizzle olive oil over it, and 1/2 of the grated cheese,
making sure you have coated all the pasta. Did I say make sure this is done in a bowl? sorry..lol.
After the zucchini is completed, make sure the pan is clear, and add 1 tbs. more of olive oil, then
a pinch of peperoncino(hot red pepper flakes), 1/2 tsp. dried oregano, then the garlic..Saute' till fragrant
about 1 minute. Now add the vinegar and let this deglaze the pan, add back in the zucchini and cook
the zucchini in the vinegar and oil for about 2 minutes, then add the pasta, toss well, then add the
breadcrumbs and remaining cheese. Toss together and let it cook for only about 3 minutes more and
remove from the heat. Taste for seasoning. Adjust with cheese or pepper or salt if necessary.
So here we have taken some of the flavors from the A'Scapece and mingled them with Campanelle
pasta that really works with all the other ingredients.
Enjoy this dish as a main course and have a nice side salad....arugula with lemon juice and black pepper is a nice choice.